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Thread: First Milling Machine

  1. #41
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
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    central MA
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    284

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mopar_Mudder View Post
    Tooling I can get little by little over time, that part doesn't bother me. Finding out how much a converter is going to run me is the biggest thing.
    Investigate a build-it-yourself rotary phase converter. The mill already has the variable speed spindle, so no need investing in a VFD. They're nice, but not needed in this application.

  2. #42
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    Feb 2012
    Location
    yuma az
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    110

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    One bit of advice if you go the mill/drill route .skip the round column and go to a square column .I started with a round column and just switched to a square column. it's way better than having to retram every time you need to move up or down now I just push a button

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Chilliwack, BC, Canada
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    Yes, it was the cost of the VFD AND the tooling stacked together.

    Check out Ebay and some other sellers. Import VFD's that will run a 2HP motor start at around $100 and go up from there. The key is that you want one that doesn't sit in the corner and sing at you all the time. For a nasty example of that check out You Tube videos from unsername rollingmetal. Positively the WORSE VFD noise I've heard on any videos with VFD's.

    The rotary option is there but with the cost on the lower end solid state units coming down so much if you can research the reviews and find a good one I think I'd want to go that way. And then it's just another switch box on the wall instead of a spinning lump over in the corner. Both work and work well. My father in his later shop years got an older big and beat up lathe that was 3PH and came with the rotary converter. It worked just fine. but it's still a big lump of a thing that needed to be started up and ran the whole time the lathe was being used. And of course it had bearings that needed attention now and then and had to be kept where it couldn't swallow swarf and dust since it was open ended so cooling air could be passed through the motor. But if it was a self motor converter or that singing warble from a "not so solid" state VFD like rollingmetal had I'd take the self motor-converter. But a lot of folks have nice polite boxes that just sit there and make the machines run with no fuss and no muss and in dead silence.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Appalachian Ohio
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    694

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    Quote Originally Posted by umahunter View Post
    One bit of advice if you go the mill/drill route .skip the round column and go to a square column .
    ^^^ + 100

    I learned on a Bridgeport, but bought a RF mill-drill for my home shop. FRUSTRATION city. Not that the RF was "bad". It just had limits that I had to learn to live with. The thing that got to me the most was the inability to keep X-Y registration when I moved the head up and down. I eventually developed methods using indicators, rods clamped in the quill, etc... But it was clunky. I finally bought a BP for home and I am SOOOOOOOOOOO happy.

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    19

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    The talk of a Mill/Drill got me to thinking, I can buy Jet brand products direct. No I can't afford to buy a full blown mill new but I can probably swing one of their mill/drill combos. I tried searching for Jet mills on here but seems you can't search with only 3 letters so it is hard to find any sort of reviews on them. Are they any good or better to steer clear and get a used Bridgeport?

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    East Coast, USA
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    7,791

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mopar_Mudder View Post
    The talk of a Mill/Drill got me to thinking, I can buy Jet brand products direct. No I can't afford to buy a full blown mill new but I can probably swing one of their mill/drill combos. I tried searching for Jet mills on here but seems you can't search with only 3 letters so it is hard to find any sort of reviews on them. Are they any good or better to steer clear and get a used Bridgeport?
    IMO, Used bridgeport all the way.
    Work hard play hard

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Chilliwack, BC, Canada
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    Looking at the Jet website they make Bridgeport clones for up around 10K starting price. They also make the square with dovetail way vertical column mill drills. And a bunch of round column machines.

    So right off the bat pass on the round column models unless you really do just want a really nice drill that can do some milling. Like Dan above I started with a round column machine. But the lack of options when doing vertical work really stymied me. It was like someone took the fog away when I got my knee mill. It's a small knee mill but that doesn't matter. It's easily 4 times the machine the round column mill can ever be.

    The square column with dovetail way "45" bench top mill/drills fixes a lot of the issues. But you're going to pay as much for one of those new as you do for the use B'port you found. Now it'll take up a lot less room and it would certainly do most things. But some day when you want to put something big and heavy on the table for doing some sort of service job you'll find there isn't enough room.

    Having said that if you were doing hobby projects working with materials from scratch or doing home gunsmithing or something of that scale of size the 45 style mill/drills are all you'd ever need. And they take up a LOT less room in the shop. But if you tinker a lot with automotive things or are looking at the hobby of restoring old farm tractors and the vintage stationary hit and miss engines and want to do a lot of your own engine work then the B'port would be the way to go just for the extra room in the work holding and setup room category.

    Contrary to a lot here I'm not one of those that thinks we all need a B'port. A huge amount of jobs done on any mill are small items. But we need to look past that and be honest about where you want to say "that's enough". And the answer to where that limit is depends on the sort of other interests you have which will be supported by a machine shop. If you are making replacement parts which are easy to lift for some cars or machinery to where you're only using the lathe a few times a year then likely no you don't need the size of a B'port. But if you regularly find you look at something larger and say "If only I could put that in my lathe (or mill) but it's just too big" then clearly you should look at the larger B'port.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    marina del rey
    Posts
    225

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    Hold off for a Bridgeport.
    12" x 35" Logan 2557V lathe
    Index "Super 55" mill
    18" Vectrax vertical bandsaw
    7" x 10" Vectrax mitering bandsaw
    24" State disc sander

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    san jose, ca. usa
    Posts
    873

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    I have a round column jet mill/drill. works for the light stuff I do. appears well made.

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Kansas City area
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    5,601

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    I have seen and used a lot of Jet mills and lathes. Most of them were junk that were not worth much. One Bridgeport copy was nicely done, and a decent machine. Apparently Jet machines are made in a lot of different places to very different standards of quality. Seems you never know what you might end up with when buying a machine from them. All the more recent Jet ads I've seen had prices way higher than what they should have been, way out of proportion to the quality.

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